Sony is set to announce a streaming service to rival Apple's iTunes at a trade show in Germany. The consumer giant wants to sell content to its own range of devices from MP3 players to TVs and PlayStation 3 consoles. Sony also has a toehold in the mobile phone market through its joint venture with Ericsson. The service won't be …
..right around the time
That Sony forced rights-managed ATRAC-only devices on people, and refused to sell them MP3 players. Yay, transcoding!
By the time they'd got the clue, it was too late, and they'd blown the massive mindshare of the walkperson era. Cocks.
They already started the right way.
MediaGo is actually rather good (despite the horrible name), and it's WAY better than iTunes. They have also long since abandoned ATRAC and DRM, with all their products accepting MP3, WMA/AAC and some supporting FLAC (more FLAC please!). Their Walkman range is the best sounding devices on the market bar-none, and they do not rely on special software to use (you can just copy music to them using explorer).
I see 3 things Sony need to do to fully get back on track.
1/ Support FLAC across the range. (or at least on their quality focused kit like the PS3 and Walkman)
2/ Move Walkman to Android and get their streaming and store app on the Marketplace for all (not just Sony products) to use.
3/ Integrate their online service with PSP/PS3 their Bravia range in addition to the Android stuff.
4/ Ensure content bought once can be played on ANY of the devices above.
I'm sure the PS3 supports FLAC - but you have to turn it on in the settings (same as WMA). I could be wrong though, I'll take a nose after work maybe.
Not just Sony devices
"4/ Ensure content bought once can be played on ANY of the devices above."
The traditional problem with content is that it only plays on certain devices by one manufacturer. What ever happened to a single industry standard?
Sony is not big enough to face the likes of Amazon & Apple head on. The only way they're going break these stores is by forming a consortium centred around industry standard formats and industry standard DRMs (where there is no other choice).
The benefit to consumers is they don't have to buy their content at one store, and they don't have to buy their hardware from one manufacturer.
The question is whether Sony will learn this or make yet another futile attempt to steal all the cake for themselves.
When Sony lost the plot
Probably about the same time the content divisions started fiddling around with the hardware. Mini-Disc was unnecessarily encumbered with restrictions which meant that despite being great, affordable kit it remained a niche market. Ditto, DVD players.
Apple's great innovation was to encumber the iPod with just enough shit to keep content owners happy and continue. This left it free to fleece users with high-margin hardware updates.
Apple's recent rush to build walls around its platform is eerily reminiscent of Sony's (and others') earlier mistake.
Late to the party?
"Sony is set to announce a streaming service to rival Apple's iTunes"
So not at all late to the party?
Come on Sony - what idiot monkey is running operations there now?
Right around the time...
"Right around the time Apple introduced the iPod, some would say"
Not me. I'd say Sony lost it long before then, but if we're going to give Apple the credit we should probably attribute it more specifically to iTunes, since without it the iPod was just the latest in a very long line of cack, overpriced hardware.
Mine's the slightly charred one; flame on.
Bout bleedin' time
Sony hardware is about the only credible mass-market alternative to Apple ATM, quality wise and (just about) coolness wise, at least to those of us who remember the original walkmans.
Anything that challenges the Apple mind-control gets thumbs up from me.
CAN WE JUST HAVE A PS3 SPOTIFY CLIENT
Try, try again
Sony already had a streaming service, back in the early/mid 2000s.
It ran on Symbian based mobile phones, both UIQ and Series60 (before it went all Volvo and got renamed to S60).
It even went live in a few countries...but it was actually too early, the cost of streaming via telco operators was too high, and bandwidth was too narrow -> not enough subscribers.